You've probably noticed that there are more carpenter bees this year than in decades. Luckily, there's a way to stop them from devouring your decks and fences.

The wacky weather pattern over the past year has wreaked havoc on the Hudson Valley's ecosystem.  From Poughkeepsie to Middletown and Kingston to Newburgh there's been a bumper crop of pine cones, a population explosion of field mice and an invasion of spongy moths that are eating attacking trees and leaving residents with huge welts on their bodies. It feels like everything is out of whack.

Explosion of Carpenter Bees in New York State

With the weather finally warming up, I was sitting on my deck this week when I heard the loud drone of a carpenter bee. As I turned around I noticed not one, but three of these huge bees bouncing up and down the railing, presumably looking for a good place to begin their damage.

Carpenter bees will bore a perfectly round hole into pieces of wood and create a series of tunnels that can stretch over ten feet long. Unless you catch the bee starting the hole, it can be difficult to spot. The hole looks like a natural hole that can be found in wood. A pile of sawdust underneath is a telltale sign that it was actually created by a deck-destroying carpenter bee.

Wappingers Carpenter Bee
A. Boris

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

Attempting to hunt down each bee's home can be difficult.  Even if you spot one, spraying the hole may have little effect because the insect can be so far inside that they're protected from any attempt to reach them.

Luckily, there is a foolproof method for capturing these bees before they can do any damage and the best part is that it doesn't require any chemicals or work on your part.

The Perfect Carpenter Bee Trap

Last year I discovered an ingenious carpenter bee trap that you can hang on your home that will attract bees and trap them. The simple wood box contains holes that mimic a carpenter bee tunnel. These holes lead to a plastic container that the bee falls into, unable to escape.

When I first installed the trap last year I was pleasantly surprised to catch a couple of carpenter bees at the beginning of the season before they could cause any damage. This year, however, I was blown away by how well it worked.

A. Boris
A. Boris

After noticing so many carpenter bees sniffing around my deck I put the trap out again. Within a couple of days, the buzzing had stopped.  I wondered where they had disappeared and then remembered the trap. After looking inside I was surprised to find eight captured bees inside.

I can confirm that these traps really do work, and will save you from wasting lots of time hunting them down and shooting dangerous chemicals all over your home.

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Hudson Valley Honey Bees at Work

Local honey is one of the many delicious local products we enjoy in the Hudson Valley. We are lucky to have a healthy honey bee population and people like the folks at HiveLand NY in Highland, New York keeping them that way. Checkout some of the tools used to make and harvest honey. Plus see a few other items made with some help from the bee.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn

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